According to Corbin, the human soul is individuated not through the union with a physical body (as in Aristotle) but by becoming a perfectly polished mirror of its angel in a strictly one-to-one relation. We realize our virtual angelicity through a progressive illumination attained on earth; we are called, by right of our origin and if we consent, to an angelomorphosis (Robert Avens, The Subtle Realm: Corbin, Sufism, Swedenborg).
Aristotle believed that matter is the principle of individuation, i.e. matter is the point of distinction between individual members of the same infirma species (the lowest species), of which there are many. So, two humans (same species, if one wants to agree with Aristotle that man is rational animal), would be distinguishable only by material traits, such as eye or hair color.
I am not comfortable at all with this idea. In my humble opinion, we are individuals, not because we have a unique DNA fingerprint, but because each of us is a unique cosmos, a microcosm of a greater macrocosm. Our exclusive umbilicus to Being, our daimon, is our true face. It is that which we are individuating in this material world.
The Soul’s angel is analogous to Jung’s idea of the Self. Corbin sees the angel as another mode of being, existing in a very real realm that is intermediate between spirit and matter. Corbin’s writing is more theological; Jung is more psychological, but both have the same basic idea in mind, i.e. a transformation of human consciousness into that which a person is destined to be. Both, however, agree on the method to arrive there, i.e. active imagination.
Only a metaphysics of the imaginal can attain to “the meeting-place of the two seas”, to the “valley of Jehoshaphat”, as Suhravardi so admirably demonstrated This mediating function of the active Imagination is essential for spiritual alchemy—that is to say, for the effectiveness of the alchemical operation viewed as a transmutation of the inner man (Temple and Contemplation, by Henry Corbin).
The “transmutation of the inner man” via active imagination is very similar to what Jung posited with his idea of individuation.
This post has been read 1868 times!